Maricopa County’s Smart Justice Initiative recently was honored by the National Association of Counties (NACo) for its system that links former inmates with career options to reduce recidivism and to empower them.
The Smart Justice Employment Team advocates using evidence-based practices to keep people from returning to jail. In Maricopa County, a substantial proportion of the government’s budget is allocated to public safety and justice.
The Smart Justice program addresses individual cases in terms of risk assessment, assigning more resources such as treatment and intervention to those at greater risk of repeating crimes, while offering support systems to those at lower risk. Techniques include one-on-one career help with guidance for resume writing and interviewing, as well as supported job training, according to an announcement.
In addition to its Smart Justice initiative, the county also was recognized for its programs for veterans re-entering the workforce and for businesses negotiating permitting processes and pollution compliance standards. The jurisdiction is the nation’s fastest-growing county, according to the county’s website.